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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Byzantine Coins| ▸ |Isaurian Dynasty| ▸ |Leo III||View Options:  |  |  | 

Leo III the Isaurian, 25 March 717 - 18 June 741 A.D.

Joint rule with Constantine V (his son), 31 March 720 - 18 June 741 A.D.
Leo III was born of peasant origin in Isauria (southern Anatolia). Anastasius II made him a general. Under Theodosius III, the Arabs were threatening Constantinople. Leo made a truce with the Arabs which allowed him to return to the capital with an army. He defeated the few forces still loyal to Theodosius and was acclaimed emperor. Meanwhile, the Arabs, ruling a large part of Asia Minor and Thrace, were certain of their final victory. Constantinople was under siege by sea and by land, but their fleet of 1,800 vessels was totally destroyed (only 5 ships survived) and they were also defeated in Thrace. Within a few months, the Byzantine Empire recovered most of their lost territory and was again the premier power in the Mediterranean. Leo so successfully defeated the Arabs that they ceased to be a serious threat for centuries. Leo reorganize the empire, carrying out important reforms, introduced a new silver denomination, the miliaresion, and promulgating a code of laws (Ecloga). Unfortunately his iconoclast policies (opposition to devotion to religious images) resulted in the destruction of thousands of masterpieces of Roman art (fortunately the Pope refused his order to destroy the artworks of Rome), split the Roman and Byzantine churches, and resulted in violent struggles between iconoclasts and their opposition which would not end until 842 A.D.
717 AD

Byzantine Empire, Leo III the Isaurian, 25 March 717 - 18 June 741 A.D.

|Leo| |III|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Leo| |III| |the| |Isaurian,| |25| |March| |717| || |-| |18| |June| |741| |A.D.||follis|
This is a extremely rare variety with a facing bust on the obverse, vice the usual full length figure standing facing. The flan for these folles is usually smaller than the dies, thus on the normal type 1 the emperor's body is often off flan and appearing similar to this 1a facing bust variant. However they are distinguishable because on the normal type 1 the height of the head alone is about 2/3 of the height of the M on the back, while on the 1a variant it is about equal or taller than the height of the M. Side-by-side the obverses look very different.
BZ99099. Bronze follis, Trivero Leone III 1a, Trivero 090; other references do not recognize this variant, VF, dark green patina, long flan crack, flan defect/flan crack lower obverse, weight 2.580 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Sicily, Syracuse mint, sole reign, 25 Mar 717 - 30 Mar 720; obverse anepigraphic, bust of Leo III facing, with short beard, wearing helmet with crest, and loros, spear upright in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand; reverse large M between two palm fronds, emperor's cruciform monogram above center, no officina, SCL in exergue; from the Robert Wachter Collection; extremely rare; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00


Byzantine Empire, Leo III the Isaurian and Constantine V, 31 March 720 - 18 June 741 A.D.

|Leo| |III|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Leo| |III| |the| |Isaurian| |and| |Constantine| |V,| |31| |March| |720| |-| |18| |June| |741| |A.D.||follis|
"Specimens of this type vary considerabley in size and weight." -- Byzantine Coins and Their Values, by David R. Sear.
BZ111216. Bronze follis, DOC III-1 54a (larger var.), Anastasi 399a, Trivero 092, Sommer 21.18, Spahr 318, Calciati MBBS 74, SBCV 1530, VF, earthen deposits, weight 3.938 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, Sicily, Syracuse mint, 721 - 730 A.D.; obverse legend normally illegible (Sear), crowned bust of Leo III facing, short beard, wearing crown and chlamys, akakia in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand; reverse bust of Constantine V facing, beardless, wearing crown and chlamys, akakia in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, below line under bust, large M (40 nummi) dividing SC-L; ex CNG auction 528 (30 Nov 2022), lot 482; ex CNG auction 25 (24 Mar 1993), lot 967; scarce; $170.00 SALE PRICE $153.00


Byzantine Empire, Leo III the Isaurian and Constantine V, 31 March 720 - 18 June 741 A.D.

|Leo| |III|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Leo| |III| |the| |Isaurian| |and| |Constantine| |V,| |31| |March| |720| |-| |18| |June| |741| |A.D.||solidus|
On 31 March 720, Leo III made his son Constantine, still a child, his co-emperor, thus founding the Isaurian dynasty. The coinage of Leo III which depicts him alone, is scarce, as it corresponds to the initial period of the reign, when the emperor was busy strengthening the imperial institutions and defending the borders. After 720, Leo III always appears on the coinage together with his son Constantine. The coinage then became relatively abundant, at least in relation to the previous period, both due to the renewed greatness of the empire and because under his reign there was an increase in commerce. Upon the death of Leo III, on 18 June 741, Constantine was crowned emperor with the name of Constantine V.
SH08815. Gold solidus, DOC III-1 5; BMC Wroth 8; Tolstoi 54; Ratto 1734; SBCV 1504; Sommer 21.3, gVF, very nice centering, finder scrape on reverse, weight 4.46 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 725 - 732 A.D.; obverse D No LEON P A MuL S, facing crowned bust of Leon, wearing chlamys, globus cruciger in right hand, akakia in left hand; reverse D N CONSTANTINu Θ, facing crowned bust of Constantine V, wearing chlamys, globus cruciger in right hand, akakia in left hand; SOLD







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REFERENCES

Anastasi, M. Monete Bizantine di Sicilia. (NP, 2009).
Berk, H. Eastern Roman Successors of the Sestertius. (Chicago, 1987).
Berk, H. Roman Gold Coins of the Medieval World, 383 - 1453 A.D. (Joliet, IL, 1986).
Calciati, R. Monete Bizantine di Bronzo della Sicilia. (Cairo, 2000).
Feg, F. Corpus of the Nomismata from Anastasius II to John I in Constantinople, 713 - 976. (Lancaster, PA, 2007).
Grierson, P. Byzantine Coins. (London, 1982).
Grierson, P. Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection, Vol III, Part 1: Leo III to Michael III, 717-867. (Washington D.C., 1973).
Morrisson, C. Catalogue des Monnaies Byzantines de la Bibliothque Nationale II, 711 - 1204. (Paris, 1970).
Ranieri, E. La monetazione di Ravenna antica dal V all' VIII secolo: impero romano e bizantino, regno ostrogoto e langobardo. (Bologna, 2006).
Ratto, R. Monnaies Byzantines et d'autre Pays contemporaines l'poque byzantine. (Lugano, 1930).
Sabatier, J. Description gnrale des monnaies Byzantines. (Paris, 1863).
Sear, D. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
Sommer, A. Die Mnzen des Byzantinischen Reiches 491-1453. Mit einem Anhang: Die Mnzen des Kaiserreichs von Trapezunt. (Regenstauf, 2010).
Spahr, R. Le monete siciliane, dai Bizantini a Carlo I d' Angio (582 - 1282). (Graz, 1976).
Tolstoi, I. Monnaies byzantines. (St. Petersburg, 1913 - 14).
Trivero, A. "I Follis Siracusani di Leone III" in monete antiche, issue 42, November/December 2008, pp. 31- 34.
Trivero, A. La monetazione di rame dela Sicilia bizantina (testo e archivio fotografico allegato). (Achao, 2006).
Wroth, W. Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum. (London, 1908).

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